2014 NFL Five Percenters
No I am not talking about the religious group based out of New York. These 5 Percenters are the top 5 players at their respective positions. Players are decided by what they have done in the past seasons along with potential for the upcoming season. Players must also have more than one good year on their resume. I hope my list ruffle a couple feathers and stir up some debates but I think I got it correct.
- Peyton Manning, Broncos - 5,477 yards, 55 TDs (10 INTs) , 68.3% completion
- Drew Brees, Saints - 5,162 yards, 39 TDs (12 INTs), 68.6% completion
- Phillip Rivers, Chargers - 4,478 32 TDs (11 INTs), 69.5% completion
- Tom Brady, Patriots - 4,343 yards, 25 TDs (11 INTs), 60.5% completion
- Andrew Luck, Colts - 3,822 yards 23 TDs (9 INTs), 60.2 % completion
Honorable Mention: Tony Romo (Cowboys), Matt Ryan (Falcons), Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
Two players have been replaced in our top 5, Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers. Flacco struggled in 2013 like most of the Ravens squad and Aaron Rodgers only played in 9 games. Brees, Brady, and Manning all remain on the list but just switched spots. Manning without question had to be #1 and I don't think anyone will argue that one. Brees moved up to the #2 spot while Brady drops down to #4 because of his drop-off in production. What may surprise people is Phillip Rivers. Rivers in 2012 wasn't even in the conversation for top QB in the league after he had his worst season ever with 28 total turnovers. In 2013 he made a big comeback, with Keenan Allen as his best target and almost landed the Chargers in the playoffs. Even though they didn't make it, two big wins against the Broncos and Chiefs on the road should give the Chargers some added fuel to come out of a tough AFC West division this season.
- Lesean McCoy, Eagles - 314 carries, 1,607 yards, 9 TDs, 5.1 YPC
- Matt Forte, Bears - 289 carries 1,339 yards, 9 TDs, 4.6 YPC
- Jamaal Charles, Chiefs - 258 carries, 1,287 yards, 12 TDs, 5 YPC
- Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks - 301 carries, 1,257, 12 TDs, 4.2 YPC
- Adrian Peterson, Vikings - 279 carries, 1,266, 10 TDs, 4.5 YPC
Honorable Mention: Frank Gore (49ers), Ryan Matthews (Chargers)
It's amazing how much the running back position is being disrespected now a days. Growing up running backs and linebackers were always the best and toughest players on the team. They were the heart, soul, and captains of the squad. All 5 of these players, even Frank Gore, are the heart and soul of their team and you can make an argument that they are the best players on the squad. Shady McCoy solidified himself as the best back in the league once he ran for 217 yards (7.1 yards a pop) in the snow against the Lions. And while Shady was going ham, A.Pete was on the sideline complaining about snowballs. A.Pete still is one of the best in the league but injuries slowed him down last season. Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch are new to the list but both have very different running styles. Forte is more of the all-purpose back, similar to Ray Rice, while Marshawn is a straight bruiser. Yes running backs are not "valued" as high as the other offensive positions, but I'm sure all 5 of these players have high value on their respective teams
- Calvin Johnson, Lions - 84 catches, 1,492 yards, 12 TDs, 22 receptions over 20 yards
- Dez Bryant, Cowboys - 93 catches, 1,233 yards, 13 TDs, 14 receptions over 20 yards
- Brandon Marshall, Bears - 100 catches, 1,295 yards, 12 TDs, 16 receptions over 20 yards
- A.J. Green, Bengals - 98 catches, 1,426 yards, 11 TDs, 18 receptions over 20 yards
- Demaryius Thomas, Broncos - 92 catches, 14 TDs, 19 receptions over 20 yards
Honorable Mention: Jordy Nelson (Packers), Antonio Brown (Steelers), Vincent Jackson (Buccaneers), Desean Jackson (Redskins), Eric Decker (Jets)
Our receiver list hasn't changed much for the exception of one player, which is Demaryius Thomas. Thomas replaces Andre Johnson, who numbers didn't decrease, but the Texans finished with the worst record in the league. All 5 of these wide-outs have incredible play-making ability, whether it be going up to get the ball or making things happen after the catch. My favorite on the list is Dez Bryant because he is the best at making things happen after the catch. He can run the ball like a running back but has that breakaway speed like a receiver. Even though he caught 93 balls and was targeted 160 times last season, I still think Romo struggles to get him the rock sometimes. Dez should easily have 100+ catches, and the same thing with Megatron. Receivers like that you have to continuously feed them the rock, no matter who is on them.
- Jimmy Graham, Saints - 86 catches, 1,215 yards, 16 TDs, 19 receptions over 20 yards
- Tony Gonzalez, Falcons - 83 catches, 859 catches, 8 TDs, 5 catches over 20 yards
- Jason Witten, Cowboys - 73 catches, 851 yards, 8 TDs, 13 receptions over 20 yards
- Vernon Davis, 49ers - 52 catches, 850 yards, 13 TDs, 16 receptions over 20 yards
- Antonio Gates, Chargers - 77 catches, 872 yards, 4 TDs, 11 receptions over 20 yards
Honorable Mention: Jordan Cameron (Browns), Greg Olsen (Panthers), Charles Clay (Dolphins)
Jimmy Graham was one of the biggest headlines this off-season. Graham did not like being franchise tagged as a tight end when he was putting up wide receiver numbers. Graham was the only tight end to eclipse 1,000 yards last season and led all tight ends in every statistical category. With the tag, Graham would have made $7 million while receivers that are tagged make $12 million. Graham had better numbers than any receiver on his team but because of his position, he had to be paid as a tight end. The Saints and Graham would later agree to 4-year $40 million deal that clearly eased the tension between the two parties.
- Robert Quinn, Rams - 19 Sacks, 7 forced fumbles
- JJ Watt, Texans - 10.5 sacks 4 forced fumbles
- Greg Hardy, Panthers - 15 sacks
- Mario Williams, Bills - 13 sacks
- Jared Allen, Bears - 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles(with Vikings)
Honorable mention: Julius Peppers (Bears), Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets), Cameron Wake (Dolphins), Justin Smith (49ers)
This list was a little tough to get together because the best didn't have the best numbers. JJ Watt had a major drop-off (like the rest of his team) from his 20 sacks in 2012, which left that #1 spot wide open. Robert Quinn led all defensive lineman in sacks and forced fumbles, being the anchor of a very good Rams defensive line. Greg Hardy had his best season in his 4-year career so far, playing opposite end of Charles Johnson, who was honorable mention last season. Mario Williams had his best season since 2007 when he recorded 14 sacks with the Texans. I still think he is overpaid but we'll save that for another day. All the players on this list, even honorable mention, could be interchangeable so please debate it.
- Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers - 50 tackles 9.5 sacks
- Kyle Williams, Bills - 68 tackles, 10.5 sacks
- Ndamukong Suh, Lions - 49 tackles , 5.5 sacks
- Geno Atkins, Bengals - 20 tackles, 6 sacks (9 games)
- Haloti Ngata, Ravens - 52 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Honerable mention: Marcell Dareus (Bills), Jason Hatcher (Cowboys)
Like the ends, this list flip flopped a little bit. Last year, Haloti Ngata was the number 1 DT but a subpar season for his standards left him at the bottom of the top 5. And if it wasn't for his experience and seniority, I was very close to putting Dareus in that 5th spot instead. McCoy took over that top spot because of his pass rushing abilities and being that anchor for the Bucs defense. If it wasn't for Geno Atkins being sideline with a knee injury, he might have been sitting at number 1. Kyle Williams is new to the list with his best season so far in his 7 year career. His increase in numbers could be because Dareus and Mario Williams are also apart of that line, which leaves it difficult for offensive lineman to choose who to double.
- Navarro Bowman, 49ers - 145 tackles, 5 sacks ,2 INTs, 4 forced fumbles
- Luke Kuechly, Panthers - 156 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 INTs, 4 forced fumbles
- Patrick Willis, 49ers - 104 Tackles, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
- Demeco Ryans, Eagles - 127 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INTs
- Kiko Alonso, Bills - 159 tackles, 4 INTs, 2 sacks
Honorable Mention: D'Qwell Jackson (Browns), Derrick Johnson (Chiefs),
For the past 3 years, the 49ers have had the best inside linebacker on their squad. Last year it was Patrick Willis, some will say he is still the best, but I'm given that spot too his teammate Navarro Bowman. Bowman played phenomenal last season and was making plays all over the field, especially in the playoffs, recording 21 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in 3 playoff games. One of the best plays of the season last year included Bowman when he picked off Matt Ryan and returned it for 89 yards in the final game at Candlestick Park on Monday Night Football. Another great play by Bowman came in the NFC Championship game when he stripped Seahawks' wideout Jermaine Kearse at the goaline, holding onto the ball while going through a gruesome knee injury. Kiko and Luke are the two young guns on the list but they play like seasoned vets. Expect one of the two to walk away with a Defensive Player of the Year award before its said and done.
- Robert Mathis, Colts - 59 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles
- Terrell Suggs, Ravens - 80 Tackles, 10 sacks
- Tamba Ali, Chiefs - 46 tackles, 11 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
- Aldon Smith, 49ers - 34 tackles, 8.5 sacks (8 Games)
- Lavonte David, Buccaneers - 145 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, safety
Honorable Mention: Clay Matthews (Packers), Vontaze Burfict (Bengals), Justin Houston (Chiefs)
This year's top OLB is Robert Mathis, who had his best season in his 10 year career. Mathis spent most of his career playing opposite side of the great Dwight Freeney, but in 2012 he became the primary pass rusher and so far he has filled those shoes well. As for the other 4 OLBs, the only true newbie is Lavonte David. I'm not very familiar with David, but looking at his numbers, it was hard to leave him off of this list. David has only been in the league for 2 seasons but numbers like that signals a great future for the young star. Smith was #1 last season but his off-the-field issues limited him to only 8 games. Smith will likely miss more games this season because of another off-the-field issue, hopefully, Aldon can get things together.
- Richard Sherman, Seahawks - 48 tackles, 8 INTs, 24 pass deflections
- Patrick Peterson, Cardinals - 42 tackles 3 INTs, 13 pass deflections
- Joe Haden, Browns - 54 tackles, 4 INTs, 24 Pass deflections, Touchdown
- Tim Jennings, Bears - 57 tackles, 4 INTs, 13 Pass deflections, 2 TDs
- Darrelle Revis, Patriots - 50 tackles, 2 INTs, 11 pass deflections (with Bucs)
Honorable Mention: Aqib Talib (Broncos), Brent Grimes (Dolphins)
Corners have become the new primadonnas in the NFL, and you can blame Richard Sherman for that. Sherman, like the entire Seahawks roster, has a very big chip on his shoulders has no problem with letting EVERYONE know he is the best in the league. I have no problem with that because he backs it up. People are mad because he only play on one side of the field but he virtually shuts his side down. In the Super Bowl, Peyton only threw to his side one time. Yes it would be nice to see him roam the field but you can't take away the fact that he can shut a side of the field down. Plus his preparation for the game I think is incomparable. Him and the other members of the legion of boom study their opponents until they have completely figured them out. Peyton Manning and the Broncos found that out the hard way. The rest of the corners on this list do roam the field but I still don't think they are better than Sherman. Haden and Jennings are new to the list, while Revis drops to the bottom. By the end of the season, this list can definitely change, watch out for the Madden Curse Sherman.
- Earl Thomas, Seahawks - 105 tackles, 14 pass deflections, 5 INTs
- Kam Chancellor, Seahwaks - 99 tackles, 9 pass deflections, 3 INTs
- Eric Berry, Chiefs - 74 tackles, 13 pass deflections, 3.5 sacks, 3 INTs
- Antrel Rolle, Giants - 98 tackles, 18 pass deflections, 6 INTs, 2 sacks
- Jarius Byrd, Saints - 48 tackles, 6 pass deflections, 4 INTs (11 games with Bills)
Honorable Mention: TJ Ward (Broncos), Eric Weddle (Chargers)
I am a big fan of all 5 of these players, especially the top two. Thomas and Chancellor are both very intelligent and physical. To me, I feel like they are more effective in stopping the run more than they are in the passing game, which isn't a problem. Both can still make plays in the passing game, they proved that against Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, but they are very great at coming up and making the tackle at the line of scrimmage. Eric Berry reminds me of Ed Reed which is saying a lot. I think he will be the next best safety after Ed and Troy Polamalu hang it up. Antrel Rolle has an advantage over all of these dudes because he has a history of playing cornerback, giving him an edge when it comes to covering ability. As for J.Byrd, I expect him to have a big season with the Saints, especially since he is practicing against Drew Brees everyday.